US and Chinese officials discuss Biden-Xi meeting amid Taiwan friction

US and Chinese officials have been discussing a face-to-face meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, amid a significant escalation in friction over Taiwan. Kurt Campbell, the coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs in Biden’s national security council, confirmed on Friday that the two leaders had raised the possibility of an in-person meeting when they last talked by phone in late July “and agreed to have their team’s follow up to sort out the specifics”. Campbell said there were no new details to announce, but both leaders are expected to take part…

Blinken makes case for democracy at start of sub-Saharan Africa tour

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has appealed to “governments, communities and peoples” across Africa to embrace Washington’s vision of democracy, openness and economic partnership in the first major speech of three-nation tour of sub-Saharan Africa. Blinken was speaking in South Africa on the first stop of his tour, which will include the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The new diplomatic effort comes after several years during which Washington appeared uninterested in sub-Saharan Africa. The tour has been portrayed as an attempt to counter recent efforts by…

Taiwan crisis: China defends calling off US military talks as exercises set to resume

China’s defence ministry defended its shelving of military talks with the United States in protest against Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week, as its military said it would continue drills around Taiwan on Monday. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) posted online that it would practise anti-submarine attacks and sea raids on Monday, following four days of unprecedented drills around the self-ruled island. Defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian defended the decision to suspend military channels, saying in an online post on Monday: “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait…

Taiwan says China making simulated attack on main island

China’s military has pressed ahead with its largest ever military drills, targeting Taiwan with what the island’s government called a simulated attack, including further incursions over the median line and drone flights over Taiwan’s outlying islands. Western pushback on China’s live-fire drills, launched in response to a visit to Taiwan by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, earlier in the week, also continued, with condemnation from senior US officials and foreign ministers from Australia and Japan. Beijing vociferously objected to Pelosi’s visit, which it said violated its “one-China principle”, a…

China halts US cooperation on range of issues after Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have plummeted into further uncertainty as China halted ties with the US on a range of critical issues – from talks on the climate crisis to dialogue between their militaries – following the visit to Taiwan earlier this week by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. The declaration of the series of “countermeasures” came as Beijing for a second day staged massive military drills surrounding the island of Taiwan and also announced sanctions against Pelosi and her direct family members for what it…

Taiwan crisis: China begins second day of military exercises in face of US condemnation

The US has condemned China’s launch of ballistic missiles around Taiwan during major military exercises as an “overreaction”, as multiple Chinese ships and planes again crossed the median line on Friday. The aggressive military displays by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began on Thursday in response to US house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, and have raised tensions across east Asia. Hundreds of PLA air force and navy craft are involved in the exercises across six zones surrounding Taiwan and encroaching into its territorial seas. At least 11 Dongfeng…

US watching Chinese military drills ‘very closely’ as ballistic missiles fired into Taiwan strait – live

From 3h ago US watching China military drills ‘very closely’ The US has been watching the Chinese military exercises near Japan “very very closely,” said John Kirby, the US’s National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications. In an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, Kirby said: “We’ve been watching this very, very closely. It’s concerning. It’s not just concerning to us, but it’s concerning, of course, to the people of Taiwan. It’s concerning to to our allies in the region, especially Japan.” In recent days, China has been conducting its largest-ever…

Xi Jinping tells Joe Biden not to ‘play with fire’ over Taiwan in two-hour call

The Chinese president has warned Joe Biden against “playing with fire” over Taiwan in a highly anticipated phone call that lasted more than two hours on Thursday, as tensions remain high over the House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential trip to the island next month. “Those who play with fire will be perished by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this,” Xi Jinping, according to a Chinese statement. He also urged the US to implement the three joint communiques that serve as the foundation for relations…

Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan trip ‘not a good idea right now’, says Biden

Joe Biden has cautioned against the reported trip to Taiwan next month by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, saying the US military had assessed “it is not a good idea right now”. The Financial Times reported earlier this week that Pelosi would lead a delegation to Taiwan in August to show support for the democratically ruled island, which Beijing claims is a breakaway province. The trip was initially scheduled for April but was postponed due to Pelosi testing positive for Covid at the time. “Well, I think that the military…

Joe Biden lands in Saudi Arabia seeking to halt shift towards Russia and China

Joe Biden landed in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah to a tepid welcome from the Saudi crown prince whose country he once pledged to make a “pariah” on the world stage. While Saudi Arabia announced it would open its airspace to flights from Israel, making Biden the first US president to fly directly from Tel Aviv to the kingdom, expectations of further gains during his visit remained low. The US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told journalists onboard Air Force One not to expect any bilateral announcements in…